Over the years, the entire definition of what is considered a small, medium, or large car has been turned on its side. Some people measure a car’s entire length to determine size, others take into account its wheelbase, while still others give consideration to the vehicle’s interior room. No matter, BMW is planning to import a car to the U.S. that is truly smaller than any BMW that has ever graced American highways: the 1 Series is coming to America…can you say, “Tiny BMW?”
Like Mercedes, the whole thought of a less than luxurious BMW running around is almost blasphemy. Please don’t think that this hasn’t been lost on Bavarian Motor Works as they study and restudy the issue and decide whether to go ahead with the planned introduction of the 1 Series. Long a producer of vehicles from compacts on up, BMW knows that the U.S. market is fickle and may reject the budget bimmer. Still, as the marketplace continues to adjust and consumer tastes change, the 1 Series is ripe for importing to the U.S. Here is why:
– A compact BMW would be the “gateway” vehicle for BMW to introduce the make to new consumers. Get them in a small bimmer and they will be hooked for life. At least they can hope so!
– Sell what we sell in Europe, in the U.S. Yes, for years BMW has been producing and selling small cars across the continent. The 1 Series is not new, but the proposed model slated for U.S. introduction will be a revamped model. Currently available as a hatchback, BMW knows about our distaste for hatchbacks and is looking at the first imported 1 Series being developed as a sedan. Look for the car to get an Inline 6 and, perhaps, an optional turbo diesel. Also look for the car to retail for about $25,000, much higher than cars in its class. Hey, we’re talking BMW here, not Nissan.
– Expand the market. Yes, BMW is successful when it comes to luxury vehicles, but even the more mass produced “commoner” cars can help the automaker’s bottom line. The U.S. market is very profitable so why miss out on sales by holding back on the 1 Series?
So, when will the 1 Series makes it debut? Probably not before summer 2007. If the model does arrive at that time, look for Mercedes to quickly respond and import its compact model, the B Series. Yes, German luxury is being redefined, but perhaps what American motorists are witnessing is German engineering beyond the typical luxury vehicles we are accustomed to driving. Sounds a bit like Volkswagen, doesn’t it?